Long Body Prayers

An Animist Somatics Ritual Art Project

and Research Praxis for Graduate Thesis

This animist somatics art project is a ritual for witnessing the animist attachment woundings and relational absences within my own lineage of settler-colonists. I am tracking the way that my kin’s ancestral-abandonment-pain-body of colonized kin has impacted so many of us in the form of developmental dissociation from the present moment impulses of our animal bodies, the support of our deep time ancestral lineages, and the circulation of our life force energy in relationship with the earth.

My audience for this project is the kin who are touched by colonization, those with a ferocious longing for a different pattern of relating. My audience is the kin who have begun the process of initiating themselves into mature humans and who have been harmed by the power dynamics of seeking eldership within a colonial context. My audience is the kin who have been pathologized for their developmental attachment woundings or nervous system dysregulation, who have been told there is a problem with them within dominant society because their bodies are responding to the current circumstances with depression or anxiety or chronic fatigue or other valid irruptions of the cultural pain body within each of our animal bodies. My audience is also the cultural soma itself, a direct communication with the unmetabolized trauma of my ancestors, the ancestral-abandonment-pain-body that still waits in the liminal for its suffering to be witnessed and metabolized, transformed into nutrients for the nourishment of the wider ecosystem. And finally, my audience are the Long Body beings who support me, the ecological beings like the marsh at bass lake with its turtles and herons, the edge-between-water-and-land beings near to Bdote where the Mni Sota river flows along the banks of a cottonwood forest, the land around my house with its maple and pine and mullein and nettle, the tender presence of my animal body in all its attentive sensation, and the wise accompaniment of the deep time ancestor beings who are guiding me.


I want to name that I am speaking from an entangled root system of animist somatics that will have aspects of my teachers and collaborators voices in my own words. What I speak is a transmutation of many voices, including Kris Nourse, Azul Valerie Thome, Francis Weller, Annemiek van Helsdingen, Susan Raffo, Liz Koch, Tada Hozumi, Dare Sohei, Larissa Kaul, Deb Dana, and Sarah Peyton. Other influential beings in my unfolding have been the moon, a birch tree in Vermont, an oak tree in California, and the turtles of Bass Lake marsh on Dakota land in Mni Sota Makoce.

Shante' Sojourn Zenith